Meet Kane Kunz: Snowboard Bum Blossoms as Tree Service Manager
Growing up in Michigan, Kane always longed for the mountains. So when he was old enough, he moved out West to pursue his passion for snowboarding. Of course, to fund his passion he had to find a job and when he heard that lumberjacks get to take the winters off, he jumped at the opportunity. Little did he know that he was beginning his career as an Arborist.
Kane worked alongside a well respected Board Certified Master Arborist in Breckenridge for nearly a decade. His boss provided in house training opportunities and allowed him to continue to grow and develop as an employee and young man. He personally mentored Kane and even encouraged him to take exams for industry credentials. If Kane failed at anything, his mentor encouraged him to try it again, and again, until he succeeded.
After living in the Rockies and studying Business Administration at Colorado Mountain College, Kane moved back to Michigan in March of 2018 to take a career with Greenstreet Tree Care, our sister company here at Lotus Gardenscapes. He was hired as a Plant Health Care Manager then quickly moved into assisting the sales team, followed by becoming the Tree Care Field Operations Manager. Now, with his recent promotion to Tree Service Manager he’s responsible for coordinating all of the daily, weekly and monthly tasks related to servicing our tree care clients.
Kane is an ISA Certified Arborist as a result of his first career as a ‘lumberjack’. All of the one on one training he received through his first mentor is showing through in his training with his current staff at Greenstreet. Recently he sent the full team to the Michigan Green Industry Association’s Trade Show. It was a two-day Arborist training pack that helped the team increase their knowledge and expertise in the industry.
Part of Greenstreet’s commitment to tree care requires Kane putting together comprehensive tree care plans formulated for specific trees throughout the season. Some of the pests and diseases we treat in the spring include Magnolia Scale, Apple Scab, Rust, Needle Blights, and Gypsy Moth Caterpillars. He researches and purchases different products that work as preventative fungicide sprays to use on common trees such as Crabapples, Hawthorns, Oaks, Sycamores, Pines and more. The product labels have to be read carefully and the products applied by professionals according to their thresholds.
But, Kane is also interested in alternatives to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. For example, he was part of a project that released ladybugs to attack aphids as a biological control method. One thing he suggests homeowners think about is what species will thrive in particular environments so they don’t plant a tree that will always be susceptible to pests, diseases, overwatering, etc. He’ll also sometimes recommend that it may be better to cut down and recycle a tree that would require 10+ years of pesticide spraying and instead start fresh with a specimen better suited for the area.
One thing Kane and Greenstreet Tree Care have in common is the belief that it’s our civil duty to care for our trees. And as part of the green industry, Kane wants to be a steward to this level of care. This year, he plans to start his first bee hive as several other employees at Lotus have done. He believes all of us, as individuals, should do our part at home too. He’s seen homeowners go to Home Depot, buy a product such as Roundup and apply it at 2-3x the label rate to kill weeds in their driveway. But, all this does it flood into our streets, rivers, and water treatment plants which is dangerous for all of us in the long term. Only licensed professionals should apply these products in a regulated way and as a society we should be mindful of this.
As much as this snowboard bum loves the mountains, he really loves being back in Ann Arbor. The best part is how much people care about their trees, which is his obvious passion. Living through the Pine Beetle Epidemic in the mountains seemed to change many people’s views on how valuable trees are. He wants people to know that it’s okay to ask for help. He said “the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. There’s probably a solution to any tree problem you have and that’s what we’re here for!”
In fact, that’s the most rewarding part of his job. He loves when a homeowner calls with a question and he’s able to solve their problem and they return as a customer. As part of his growth plan with Greenstreet, he’s looking forward to growing the business within the region and keeping an ear to the ground on what’s best for the environment and the community. This year, he’s helped revamp the Plant Health Care Department by developing new and different services, formulas and application methods.
He’s also linking up with local emergency rescue teams to commit to countywide aerial rescue training. Did you know that lots of firefighters are not equipped to do tree rescues? That means if a hunter, cat, or drone gets stuck in a tree, tree climbers are the best people to perform these rescues. Kane sees this gap in the industry on training each other and he wants to be at the forefront of this development.
Trees can be deadly, so it’s always best to call in the professionals. If you’re looking for tree care this season, give our sister company Greenstreet Tree Care a call. Kane is building an amazing team that is ready to serve you and answer any questions you may have!